Friday, April 23, 2010

Susan Briscoe, The Crow’s Vow

Broken fences―
boards splintered like snapped bones;

chain link crumpled, kicked in the gut;
and posts, looking to rest, leaning

against nothing. Then a horse running crazy,
gate smashed. We startle each other

on the stony road, caught
in a thin snare of sight. Wild-eyed,

it wheels away, running unsure,
fences again beyond.

I’m intrigued by this new first poetry collection, Susan Briscoe, The Crow’s Vow (Montreal QC: Véhicule Press / Signal, 2010), a book-length sequence of (although not named) seeming-ghazals. There are some lovely moments throughout the collection, with short poems one-per-page that run through the tension between abstract and an ongoing narrative around seasons, birds and the narrator wife/mother, with poems that pull sometimes more one way than another. The poems that seem strongest, perhaps, are the ones that fall more on the abstract side. This is an intriguing long poem, long sequence, one that didn’t strike fully, but struck in a more occasional, subtle, way. I am intrigued to see where this poet goes next.

There’s a hole in the yard.
Yesterday I wielded the spade,

dug at it some more. Eyed its depth,
paced its span. Satisfying work.

A robin watched from the swing set.
My boy, now and then, stood by:

there are things he could do with a hole this size.
Every day of your absence I dig.

If you don’t come home soon
the garden will be gone.

1 comment:

Bernice Lever said...

Good lines, Susan Briscoe; thanks, rob, fort sharing her poems. "The Crow's Vow" does resonate with me.
Maybe I'll see you first week of June - in for PLR - and read from "Generation" - Black Moss and share a brew.
Bernice Lever